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Doodipora killing: Army, CM order probe
February 23, 2006 22:09 IST
As large number of people took to the streets in Jammu and Kashmir protesting the killing of four youths allegedly by troops in Doodipora, army on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the incident claiming that they were shot dead by militants hiding in a house.
The state government also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the killing.
General Officer-in-Command, 15th Corps, Lt Gen S S Dhillon, told reporters that militants who were hiding in a house in the village were responsible for the killing of the four youths. However, the army has ordered an inquiry into the incident to know the truth, he added.
He said the entire incident was a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image of army and an attempt to stall the ongoing peace process.
"We have ordered an inquiry. Once the situation stabilizes, the inquiry will start," Gen Dhillon said, adding that some villagers knew the facts of the incident but others had been incited by vested interests to lodge protest.
Dhillon said army will also consider compensation to the bereaved families since this was an 'emotional' issue.
Earlier, Police lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a group of 50 students who tried to storm a police station in Handwara, four km from the village, to register their protest over the killing. Residents of Doodipora and adjoining villages in the district also staged a demonstration alleging that the army killed the boys in the crossfire.
Giving details of the incident, Dhillon said after receiving the information that some terrorists were hiding in a house at Doodipora, the troops reached the village. However, before they could establish the cordon, terrorists opened fire on them specifically targeting an overground worker of Lashkar-e-Tayiba mistaking him as an army informer.
"The first burst came from terrorists," he said, adding, "Thereafter as customary we fired back and in the exchange of fire, the hiding militants (whose number was between three to four) slipped away. It was during search operation, army located bodies of the three innocents killed."
He said in a normal cordon and search operation, army first evacuates the villagers, especially women and children. In this particular case, this was not possible because the terrorists opened fire indiscriminately, which resulted in the brutal killing of innocent civilians.